There is not a lot of information concerning the wise use of herbs specifically for men and boys. Not many men seek herbal healing. Retailers of herbs find that male health formulas are often bought by women caring for a husband, father, son, or friend. The majority of purchases of herbs are for care of the prostate and treatment of erectile dysfunction. These herbs are usually bought by women. The only formulas typically bought by men are those for the enlargement of the male.
Are there really no other uses of herbs for the males of the species? How about these: Running, cycling, rowing, swimming, walking, dancing, aerobics, cross-country skiing, and mountain climbing. Or bodybuilding, weight lifting, wrestling, strength sports, and track and field? Or football, baseball, and basketball?
The herb once known as ‘Siberian ginseng‘ and now called Eleuthero was a favorite of trainers and coaches of Olympic athletes in the old Soviet Union. When the word about Eleuthero got out, Western scientists put it to the test.
A study of six baseball players found that taking Eleuthero for 8 days increased breathing capacity. That is, Eleuthero gave the players more wind to sprint between bases. In another clinical test, scientists in Australia found that men (and women) who took Eleuthero 8 weeks had 13% strength gains in the pectoral muscles and 15% in the biceps.
And a company in New Jersey found that taking Eleuthero for 8 weeks increased the body’s ability to burn fat through exercise by about 43%. The scientists running these tests recruited experienced athletes. The benefits of this readily available herb are even more noticeable in beginning athletes. Just be sure to take the herb for at least 8 weeks for best results.
Combining Eleuthero with other herbs can be even better. Soviet scientists found taking both Schisandra and Eleuthero benefited endurance athletes by giving them an immune system boost. The two herbs together helped prevent colds, flu, and other infections after athletic events.
Eleuthero is not the only herb for athletes. American trainers report a combination of Sea Buckthorn, Wild Oats, and Stinging Nettle increases strength, anaerobic power (muscle output when the athlete is out of breath), endurance time, and even feelings of well being. For best results, increase the Vitamin C foods in your diet when you take these herbs.
American Ginseng is Eleuthero’s kinder and gentler cousin. It is especially helpful for males engaged in weight control. A study published last year in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition noted that men who take at least 3 grams of American Ginseng per day experience lower blood sugars and lower insulin levels after eating. Lower levels of insulin lead to a lesser tendency to store food as fat. Weight lost by diet and exercise is more likely to stay off when men use American ginseng.
Of course, weight loss is easier with the help of human growth hormone. Human growth hormone is practically a panacea. It treats an astonishing array of health problems of both men and women. And that’s not all. Human growth hormone also makes muscle.
The herb most trainers don’t realize can increase human growth hormone production is St. John’s Wort. Usually used to treat depression, St. John’s Wort helps cells in the pituitary to ‘soak up’ excesses of the stress hormone norepinephrine. With this stress hormone out of the way, the pituitary produces more human growth hormone.
An oddity of using St. John’s Wort for this application is that less is more. Taking 900 mg of standardized hypericin doesn’t have this effect. Taking the whole herb, which releases less hypericin but more of the other chemicals in the herb, does.
Once you grow all those muscles, herbs can help prevent aches, pains, and strains. Green tea, in particular, provides a hefty dose of flavonoid antioxidants that short-circuit the production of inflammatory hormones in damaged muscle. The advantage of Green tea over other sources of flavonoids (spinach, for example) is that it does not have to be consumed with fat to provide readily available flavonoids to the body.
And when you are cooking, don’t leave out the Oregano. Oregano has 3 to 20 times higher antioxidant activity than any other culinary herb. Gram per gram, Oregano has 42 times more antioxidant activity than apples, 30 times more than potatoes, 12 times more than oranges and four times more than blueberries.
Not to be forgotten, of course, are the herbs for male reproductive health. Indian, Iranian, Arab, and Pakistani herbal traditions have recommended Ashwagandha for thousands of years as a ‘brain herb’ for male potency. Laboratory studies with mice find that Ashwagandha reconnects the circuits in the brain that have been broken by stress.
In men, the pathways that ‘put the brakes’ on ejaculation can become ‘broken’ by stress. Dysfunction in the autonomic nervous system causes premature ejaculation. Repairing ‘broken circuits’ is theoretically one of the ways Ashwagandha helps restore male potency. The effects of Ashwagandha are usually noticed within 48 hours of taking the first dose.
The rain forest herb Muira Puama comes to us from Peru, but its efficacy in increasing male potency was proven in studies in France. The key to using Muira Puama effectively is in how you take it – little lemon juice in a chaser of water after taking the herb greatly increases the release of its active tannins. A little lemon juice also unlocks the active principles of Epimedium, aka horny goat weed, traditional Chinese medicine’s remedy for men who have lost interest in sex.
Yohimbe, perhaps the best known of the aphrodisiac herbs for men, acts on a principle very similar to Viagra, Cialis, or Levitra, but doesn’t have the side effects of stuffy nose, sniffles, or seeing blue! Even men who do not suffer erectile dysfunction note an enhanced experience after taking Yohimbe. Results are noted within 4 hours of taking the herb.
For men with prostate problems, Saw Palmetto is a proven treatment. There are advantages to the whole herb not to be found in its chemical extract. Improvement in urinary capacity is a little slower with the whole herb, but the side-benefits are improved respiratory health, improved muscle strength, and a general sense of well being that only the whole saw palmetto berry supports. Consider capsules of freeze dried Saw Palmetto to obtain the full range of benefits of this versatile herb.